Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Sept. 29, 2011

I made a comment yesterday that if you are ever wondering where I am, if you say at a library, you're probably right. I've been crazy busy the last couple of weeks because I started training as a reference assistant while still working my current library assistant job. BUSY! As it turns out, post graduation life is also nutso, but in different ways. Despite always being in a library or in transit to a library or desperately trying to get some sleep, I've seen some stuff on the internet that's pretty cool. Some of it has been about food. Let's look at that stuff!

How to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds: Holy hell, how did I not know about this before? This technique would make recipes like this or this or this so much easier. I might have to go through every single one of my garlic tagged recipes in see how much faster it would be. Seriously. Wow.

Cat Land Cat Party: Adorable. Just adorable. Little kitty cat cakes.

Top Secret Interview with CakeSpy: Also just adorable. Plus she recently posted a link to retro dessert recipes. Rad food history!

Make Your Pie Crusts Extra Crispy with Vodka: I guess I'm awesome because I've already done this.It's nice to be (slightly) ahead of the curve.
(see the whole set here)
Pumpkin Beer History - Colonial Necessity to Seasonal Treat: Though we are getting the last dying gasps of summer this week in Portland (which started in August), it's definitely feeling a lot more like fall. Time to put on tights and boots and scarves and drink the autumn seasonals. I love pumpkin beer (like I love pumpkin pie) and this history is fascinating. I can't imagine that the creators thought future Americans would be snuggling up on patios in their fall gear drinking it, but I don't think they really thought a lot about patios. What's your favorite fall ale?

Colbert Super Mac Presented by BrunchBox: I love me some Stephen Colbert. I was giggling at his Rosh Hashanah phone bit this morning (PS: l'shana tovah!). Though I can't see myself ever even attempting to eat this burger, I like that it exists and it exists in Portland. Good one PDX!
(full story here)
How To Turn a Milk Jug Into a Sandwich Box: So maybe I don't have giant milk jugs in my house, but this is amazing and could be a fun project.

Hero Electric Hot Dog Steamer: This is so creepy. It's creepy enough that I kind of love it. Serious Eats has some videos of it in action.

Absolut Tune - Vodka and Wine: This just strikes me as so, so weird. I have never ever mixed vodka with wine. The only things I've done to wine, besides just drink it, is mull it with spices or mix it with cola for kalimotxo. If you haven't had a kalimotxo, I highly recommend it. It might sound off, but it tastes wonderful. With that in mind, maybe Absolut Tune won't taste that weird.
(I featured him twice before this year in TILT posts here and here)
I'm also loving: Thai food with really weird classic movies; "that's a half sandwich?"; peanut butter in the AM; breakfast burritos that are actually really delicious; kale wraps and collard green wraps and basically any wrap that involves greens; pizza with pineapple on it because duh; putting together meals based on groupons; seriously satisfying pasta after a long long day; PBR on tap (especially when my team wins); revisiting recipes with even greater success; pistachios; food collaborations; the smells coming out of the Beaverton Bakery even when it's closed; talking bread with my dad; talking zucchini with my mom; tamarind in my whiskey.

What are you loving this week? 

Friday, September 23, 2011


Okay, so there are a million guacamole recipes out there. This one isn’t anything really new, but I just had so much fun making this with my mortar and pestle (the traditional way), that I had to share. Whenever I make guac, I use some of it on whatever else I’ve made, but mostly I eat it with chips. This batch was no different.


1 ripe Haas avocado
2 garlic cloves, minced
Lime juice, to taste
Salt, to taste
Smoked sea salt, to taste
Mash your avocado with your mortar and pestle until very creamy. Mix in lime juice until tangy and a bit of salt. Finish with smoked sea salt.

I think the smoked sea salt adds a new, interesting flavor. Getting a perfect avocado makes all the difference as you want it to be super creamy. Try it out. I got my smoked sea salt at Trader Joe’s

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Zucchini Cakes

Not too long ago I went to the farmers market and the zucchinis were already crazy cheap. I bought a few because why not and then promptly could not figure out what I wanted to do with them. Some ended up in eggs, pasta, nachos (!), but I still had so much. So one night I shredded the remainders up and decided to make a veggie faux latke. It worked out really well. Sometimes the farmers market creates inspiration and sometimes you just buy too many zucchinis.

Zucchini Cakes:

Serves 2

1 potato, shredded
2 medium size zucchinis, shredded
2 medium size carrots, shredded
3 garlic cloves, minced
½ c. matzoh meal
2 eggs, scrambled
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Olive oil
Ricotta (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together shredded veggies and then mix in the matzoh and eggs. Form into patties. Place on a greased baking sheet. Sprinkle top with olive oil. Back for 10-15 minutes until cooked through and the tops and edges are crispy. Top with ricotta cheese.
They are tasty and a fun way to do something like latkes without being a slave to the stove. Yum!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Strawberry Balsamic Smash

Some time ago Adam and Josh came over and we watched Elvira and had these drinks. They were a little weird, but it was a fun experiment. Elvira, of course, was fabulous.

Strawberry Balsamic Smash from Serious Eats:

Serves 1

For the strawberry syrup-
2 c. strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 c. sugar
3” piece of lemon peel

For the cocktail:
4 strawberries, hulled
1 round slice of lemon, cut in half
1 oz. strawberry syrup
½ oz. balsamic vinegar
2 oz. bourbon
Garnish: additional strawberry

To make the syrup, combine the strawberries, sugar, and lemon rind in a saucepan. Cover and let sit for 1 hour at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Once the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have released their liquid, bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring gently, until the berries are tender, about 3 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the strawberries to a pint jar. Continue simmering the syrup until it thickens to a syrupy consistency, about 2 minutes. Discard lemon peel and pour syrup over berries. Let cool to room temperature, then store in the fridge for up to 1 month.

To make the cocktail: muddle 4 strawberries and the lemon in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice, then add the strawberry syrup, balsamic and bourbon.

Shake vigorously. Using both the cocktail strainer and a fine mesh strainer, strain the cocktail into a glass. Garnish with a strawberry.

The strawberry syrup was the winner here. I’ll definitely do that again.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Apple Dutch Baby

Dutch babies are a nostalgic breakfast for me. My mom used to always makes them for me for special breakfasts and whenever I visit, I can get one. The classic way to make it is to make a huge one in cast iron pan and share it, but you can do individual sizes. I made a smaller version to share with Aaron and did it in a casserole, which made it thicker than usual, but still tasty. Apple is a classic combo with the Dutch baby.

Apple Dutch Baby:

¼ c. milk +
¼ c. flour
for every egg
1 – 2 eggs from one person
3 – 4 for more
1 apple

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place enough butter to coat casserole. Warm in oven until melty.
Mix milk and flour with beaten eggs. Cover the bottom of the casserole with apple slices. Pour in batter and cover top with apple slices.  For a one egg baby, bake for 8-10 minutes. For two eggs, 10-12 minutes, and 12-15 for three eggs.
Remove when top is puffy. Serve with maple syrup, sour cream, and jam.

It’s easy, but still seems like a fancier breakfast. It would also be a welcome addition to a potluck brunch.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Sept. 15, 2011

(from a 1950s Life Magazine)
30 Uses for Leftover Cake Batter: It's not my birthday for a bit (my half birthday is next month though), but I still love birthday cake. Also CakeSpy. These are fantastic ideas.

Are Carrots Orange for Political Reasons?: As it turns out, the question is far more complicated that you might think."What is clear, however, is that the Dutch themselves have used the orange carrot as a political weapon during the rise and fall of the House of Orange." Carrots aren't always orange as anyone who has ever grown them or gone to a farmers market can tell you. The question is still unresolved. On a side note, are there any job titles cooler than horticulture historian?
Ben & Jerry's Introduces Schweddy Balls Ice Cream: As a person, Alec Baldwin is fairly terrible. As a comedian, he's great. Schweddy Balls, in case you don't know, comes from one of the best skits out of the SNL's Delicious Dish, a fake NPR program about food in monotone voices, skits. If I can find it, I'm trying it.

Also from NPR, there is evidence that a baby's palate and food memories are shaped before birth. I do love kalamata olives and my mom told me she couldn't get enough of them while pregnant with me. Of course I was introduced to lots of good foods throughout childhood, so take from this study what you will.

Drunk Elk Found in Tree: Again, the BBC has the best food related news. Even if you don't read this, go look at the picture. It's hilarious!
The Last Pizza Commercial: I have been having thoughts along these lines about Domino's new ad campaign. Funny or Die says it best.

The Perennial Plate: Food + travel + education = my dream life.Check out this video of some of their favorite moments over three months of traveling and eating and learning.

The Culinary Notebooks of Leonardo "Fat Boy" Da Vinci: haha. I love this!
I'm also loving: fresh pasta from Pastaworks; vanilla cupcakes from Beaverton Bakery (and my new job is just blocks away!); comté cheese thanks to Corey; tomatoes right off of the vine; so much sushi; introducing more people to Screen Door (it really is worth getting up that early); my year long love of bloody marys (I know, I was so behind); chocolate tastings via The Meadow; the dudes at the meat counter at Sheridan's (so helpful and informative!); having way too much fun using my mortar and pestle; dried apricots; peanut butter on granola bars for breakfast; the way my hands smell after watering my plants; already starting to think about Thanksgiving; cookie presents from the librarians I work with.

What are you loving this week? 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting and Mint Oreo Cream

Aaron and I celebrated our fifth (wow!) anniversary on August 4. Clearly this was a very busy time for me and I didn’t actually make these cupcakes on our anniversary. They ended up being presents for that weekend including an amazing trip to the Oregon/Washington Coast with my friends before Adam moved off to NYC to get his PhD. They were well received and I actually ate one this time. It combines several things Aaron and I love: ridiculous chocolate cake (is there one better than North Douglas? Nope. I used a half recipe), Oreos, amazing vanilla frosting, and Star Wars. Did I mention I got these stencils recently? Yeah. Awesome. Eat and share it with someone you love, even if that love is Han Solo.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting and Mint Oreo Cream:

Makes 12 cupcakes

North Douglas Chocolate Cake from The Fiddlehead Cookbook-
½ c. water
½ stick butter
¼ c. oil
2¼ Tb. sifted Dutch process dark cocoa
 1 c. unbleached white flour
1 c. granulated sugar
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 egg
¼ c. buttermilk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

Mint Oreo Cream-
½ -¾ c. whipping cream
12 oreos, crushed
2 drops peppermint extract

Vanilla Frosting from
½ c. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1¾ c. powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1/3 c. whipping cream
½ tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a cupcake pan with pretty cupcake liners. Combine water, butter, oil, and cocoa in a small pan and bring to a boil. While butter and water are coming to a boil, sift together flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Set aside. Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

When butter and water are boiling, pour over sifted flour. Stir until just combined. Add egg mixture and gently fold together. Pour into prepared liners.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to rest briefly in pans and then turn out onto racks to cool completely.
While it is cooling, beat whipping cream until light and fluffy. Add in crushed oreos and then peppermint extract. Set aside.

To make the frosting, mix together butter, powdered sugar, and a pinch of salt until creamy. Increase your mixer speed to high and beat until light and fluffy. Add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Set aside.

To assemble the cupcakes, follow the directions from these amazing cupcakes: core, fill with oreo cream, gently frost. When the frosting has hardened a bit, use your stencils and gently tap cocoa powder to the tops of the cupcakes to decorate.
I loved these! I would add in slightly less peppermint extract as that flavor easily takes over, but otherwise everything was great. North Douglas chocolate cake is always the perfect base for any chocolate based project. These are fantastic and a lot of fun to make.

Monday, September 12, 2011


What goes really well with grilled deliciousness? Coleslaw. It also rocks with slow cooked chicken sandwiches. Make this. It’s easy and wonderful. It’s a half recipe, but I promise it’s enough unless you’re going to a huge barbecue.

Coleslaw from 2nd Ave Deli Cookbook:

Makes about 1 quart

1 lb. green cabbage
¼ c. very finely grated carrot
1½ Tb. white vinegar
1½ Tb. sugar
¼ c. mayonnaise
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. white pepper

Remove and discard loose out cabbage leaves and core. Shred cabbage. I did this with the slicing attachment on my food processor. Place in a large bowl, add carrots, and mix.

In a separate bowl, mix all other ingredients. Pour them over the cabbage and carrots, and toss to combine thoroughly. Chill for several hours or overnight.
Use this as a side from everything you’re grilling or plop it on top of sandwiches. It’s got a great tang and gets even better the longer it sits. I plan on trying a bunch of new coleslaw recipes, but it’s a great basic to start with.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mint Chimichurri

What goes great with grilled burgers? Chimichurri. Lamb loves mint, so even though the original recipe does not have mint, but mint + lamb = perfection. The first chimichurri I ever had was with mint, so why not? I added in all of the optional spices and it really pops.

Mint Chimichurri Sauce modified from Closet Cooking:

Makes 2 cups

1 c. mint (packed)
¼ c. parsley (packed)
¼ c. cilantro (packed)
1 Tb. fresh oregano (chopped, optional)
4 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
¼ tsp. cumin (optional)
¼ tsp. hot smoked paprika (optional)
¼ c. oil
2 Tb. white wine vinegar
½ lemon (juice and zest)
Salt and pepper to taste
Puree everything in a in a food processor. Put on food. This is awesome with lamb, but would be great just on toast or a veggie packed sandwich. It is full of ridiculous flavor.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Thyme Ice Cream with Grilled Peaches

Through no fault of my own, I am subjected to The Oregonian’s Food Day on my porch twice a week. Despite being obnoxious, I have occasionally gotten good recipes out of there. This is one of them. I decided to use it on top of grilled peaches. Grilling fruit makes the flavor really deepen and with this yummy, herbal ice cream, it just feels like summer.

Thyme Ice Cream from Chad Draizin of Fifty Licks Ice Cream and Grilled Peaches:

Makes about 1 quart

1 c. milk
2 c. whipping cream, divided
7 sprigs fresh thyme
6 egg yolks
1 c. plus 2½ Tb. granulated sugar
1 tsp. honey

2 medium size peaches
In a medium saucepan combine the milk, 1 cup of the cream, and the thyme sprigs. Heat to just under boiling, around 190 degrees. Remove from heat, cover and allow mixture to steep for 30 minutes, longer if you like strong thyme flavor. I’d recommend doing it for longer because the thyme flavor is very subtle at 30 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and honey. Remove and discard the thyme sprigs from the warm milk mixture. Add egg-sugar mixture to the saucepan. Pour remaining cup of cream into a mixing bowl and set aside.

Return saucepan to medium heat and stir constantly with heatproof spatula until mixture thickens slightly; temperature should be about 170 degrees. Be certain to scrape the bottom of the bowl with the spatula as you stir. When the custard thickens, pour it through a strainer and stir into the remaining cup of cream. Now chill this mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator for at least four hours.

When ready to churn, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Move the mixture into the freezer for hard packed ice cream.

To make the peaches, cut them in half and remove the pit. Oil each side. Preheat the grill for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to medium. Place peaches skin side up, close lid, and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Place peach halves in a bowl and cover with ice cream.

The fruit flavor works really well with the ice cream. The ice cream itself is not super herbal and has a great custard flavor. It has become my favorite new dessert. 

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Sept. 8, 2011

(thanks Amy!)
Rosa Parks' Uncovered 'Featherlite' Peanut Butter Pancakes: Rosa Parks was an incredible woman. You should know this as an American and as a person. What I bet you didn't know is that she had a penchant for peanut butter in pancakes. This is cooking and history: two things I love reading about!

Great Day Makers: I love when I feel like I'm slightly ahead of the "oh, isn't this cool" curve. Yes and Yes is one of my favorite blogs and she recently posted about the awesome separated cereal bowl I mentioned in a TILT post in July as well as the shark tea infuser I posted about last year.  You should really read the rest of it though as she includes Sky Mall-esque toasters that print messages and mustache mugs.
Simpsons Inspired Meals: These are disgusting and hilarious and a must read for any fan of the show. Thanks Lisa for the heads up on this one!

Baguette Vending Machine Debuts in France: I could use one of these. A lot. This is weird and amazing.
(thanks Renai!)
Kids Cook Too: I love Awful Library Books and this one is a gem. Want to read bits of a 1957 Betty Crocker cookbook for kids? You know I did! I love looking at food photography from the 50s and 60s as well. Everything looks unappetizing.

In more modern kids in the world of food, check out digger obsessed cutlery. You know the here comes the airplane, but what about here comes the backhoe?

And in even more kid related news, want to know how to eat your first birthday cake? The answer is with your hands and make a huge mess. And be adorable. Speaking of first birthdays and things that are beyond adorable, my friend Eva's daughter Nixie just turned one and she had an amazing Yo Gabba Gabba cake at her birthday.
(full post here)
I'm also loving: sweet potato fries with that amazing dipping sauce at Mint; different combos of fro-yo; stir-fry after yoga; peaches with ice cream all the time; BBQs with buds on a lazy Sunday; honey sesame almonds for life; "Arug-u-la. It's a veg-e-ta-ble."; Emergen-C after a stupid run in stupid 90 degree heat. Which is stupid.; chain food that doesn't suck; family dinners with Aaron and Corey; the last of the summer seasonals; tomatoes like whoa; happy hours.

What are you loving this week?  

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Grilled Salad

I love salad and I eat it all the time. It got a lot easier when Aaron discovered how much he loves balsamic. As much as I love salad, I do basically the same thing every time. I decided to go slightly out of the box with this one and make a dressing and grill some veggies.

Balsamic Vinaigrette with Grilled Salad:

For the vinaigrette-
¼ c. balsamic
2 garlic cloves, minced
10 small sprigs lemon thyme
Fresh ground pepper and salt to taste
Juice for ½ lemon
¼ c. extra virgin olive oil

For the salad-
Lettuce (romaine, butter, red leaf)
Green onion

To make the vinaigrette, mix all of the ingredients together until well blended. Set aside.
For the salad, grill the broccoli, carrots, green onion, and peppers until slightly charred. Add the grilled veggies to a salad bowl with arugula and lettuce. Toss in vinaigrette. I added goat cheese and cherry tomatoes to mine.

It’s a quick and easy way to jazz up your salad.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Grilled Pizza

Today is the unofficial end of summer and I’ve decided to wrap it up with a week of grilled recipes that I haven’t posted yet. First up: grilled pizza. Obviously I love pizza and doing it a different way is fun.

Grilled Pizza:

½  recipe of pizza dough
Olive oil
Tomato-basil puree
Garlic, minced
Mozzarella cheese, grated and sliced
Sausage, cooked
Grilled onions

Make your dough and roll out your pizzas. A full recipe can get your three good size pizzas for grilling. You want a smaller pizza so it cooks through well. Preheat your grill.
Oil the top of your dough, flip it over, and slide it onto the grill over medium-high heat. Grill until the bottom is cooked (it should have grill marks at this point). Oil the top and flip it over on the unheated side of the grill and quickly top it. Use a light touch with the sauces. We used the tomato-basil puree on two and just olive oil on one. Go light on the toppings too. You want it to cook through quickly.

Slide it back over the flames until the cheese is melted, your toppings are heated through, and the bottom side is cooked.
We had three pizzas. One was classic margarita: tomato, whole basil leaves, and mozzarella. The other was similar: tomato, basil, mozzarella, grilled onion, and garlic on an olive oil base. The last one was tomato sauce, grilled sausage, mozzarella, and basil.
There are a few moments of wondering if you can get it all together, but the results are so worth it. It would work well as an appetizer at a barbecue or just as a meal, which is what we did. If the weather is still nice where you are, I recommend doing this. It’s usually nice in Portland through September, so I think this will be happening again. Who says Labor Day is the end of summer?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: Sept. 1, 2011

Rabbit rabbit.

Hey guys. The sun is shining. I went to Seattle last weekend and had a blast. I've been feeling better. I still love stuff, so here we go.

Sarah's Gadget Showcase, Part 2: I am now a librarian (check it! I graduated!), but prior to getting my MLS, I started following a number of library related blogs. Kai's mom is an academic librarian and referred me to Librarian in Black. I love it. I also love that she just did a post about her favorite kitchen gadgets. Librarians love gadgets and so do cooks. I love things that cover multiple parts of who I am.

Fantastic Food Fashion: It's similar to something I posted last year, but it's still fun to see different things made out of food. Kirsten recently shared this post of food sculptures that I also love. Makes you glad these people never heeded the don't play with your food warning from family.
Naked Tomato Sauce: My tomato plant has been killing it. I have so many tomatoes and many of them are now (finally) red. This might be one way to use them. I'm also thinking about this Spicy Tomato Jam with Peaches that Food in Jars posted on Facebook. I'm open to any and all tomato recipes right now.

One Hundred Miles Food Cart: There's a new cart in town (isn't there always?) and this one is based on sourcing food from within 100 miles of Portland. It's a noble endeavor and I can't wait to try it.

John Gorham to Open New Mississippi Venture: He's created Toro Bravo and Tasty n Sons, two of my favorite restaurants in Portland. Now, bar food? And all of this in my neighborhood? Yes please!

In other local news, Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegar Goes National. Pok Pok, another fave of mine, is Thai street food and their fish sauce chicken wings are ridiculous. So are their drinking vinegars and now they will be available outside of NE (up the hill from me!) and SE Portland.
The Go-To Snacks of Literary Greats via Wendy MacNaughton
(click it to make it bigger)
Bill Clinton's Life as a Vegan: Everyone has their own personal food politics. These can sometimes become quite messy in the public sphere especially because of how personal some of these choices are. However, the reason I'm posting this is because I like his reasoning behind it. His family has a history of heart disease, he has a history of heart disease, and he wants to be around for his family. Plus, I love the SNL clip included with the article.

The Ten Most Insulting Things Anthony Bourdain Has Said About the Food Network: It's exactly what it sounds like. Go read it because Tony is hilarious. I like to talk about him, obviously.
I'm also loving: extra cheesy Aaron creations; Old Grand-Dad Whiskey (it has the best name ever!); getting to go to the last ever Nettletown dinner with Renai; snacks with my faves while sitting on a beach on Lake Washington (plus sharing ginger brews); the (brief) return of Taco Tuesday with Aaron and Corey; pickled grapes (who knew?); eating tomatoes right off of the vine, sometimes wrapped in basil right off the plant; getting lavender in the mail from my mom; spicy everything; grilled fruit; sharing baked goods; avocado every day; dreaming of Corey's dad's smoked salmon; creating drinks in Chisum's memory (rum + cola + pop rocks); @pattonoswalt "I wonder how many people's last words included the word, "nutrageous."".

What are you loving this week?  
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